How to create a memorable experience for your client
Recently, I bumped into a childhood friend at a gathering. We had a ton of mutual friends we had no clue about. We spent most of the time catching up.
Later that evening, we went out for more drinks with everyone. We kept telling childhood stories and bragging about each other.
The next day, I was thinking about our conversations. And I realized that we never once mentioned how much money we made, our possessions, or accomplishments. Instead, all we talked about were memorable experiences.
Think about the last time you reconnected with a childhood friend? What kind of conversations did you have with them?
If the conversations were good, I bet they were about good, funny, and happy memories. If the conversations were deep, then you might have even discussed some sad or vulnerable experiences.
In the end, isn’t that what truly connects us to one another? Experiences.
That’s the case family, romance, friendship, heck, even enemies!
Experience, experience, experience.
What do your clients remember about you?
What does this all have to do with selling projects as an introverted freelancer?
Glad you asked. Here’s the truth of the matter:
Your clients will remember their experience with you more than anything else you did for them.
They will forget the amount of money you helped them make. The kind of work you did will grow fuzzy with time. The details of the project will fade in their mind.
But they WILL remember how they felt about you and their experience with you. Yes, even in a professional or corporate setting. That’s the lasting imprint you’ll leave on each client.
Think about it. Years (even decades) may pass by and their experience with you will stay with them.
Another word we can use to describe this imprint is impact.
A good question to ponder is:
What kind of impact are you having on your clients?
Hold up! I know it sounds cliche and you’ve heard this question before. But I’m about dig deeper than your standard run of the mill article about “impact” and “client experience”.
Really think about the question all around:
- Do your clients get back to you in a timely manner or do they avoid you?
- Do your clients genuinely express excitement when it’s time to work with you? Or do they seem pessimistic about the project?
- Do you hear again from your clients after a project has been completed?
- Do your clients invite you to events outside of work like happy hours or holiday parties? (Hint: This means they REALLY like you).
If you pay close attention to subtle clues your clients give you, you’ll be able to gauge what kind of impact you’ve had on them–whether that’s negative, positive, or none at all.Ten years from now, your clients won't remember your work; only their experience with you. Click To Tweet
Your sales process is where you start creating that impact. If you do a good enough job in your sales process, everything afterward becomes extremely easy. You’ll simply need to keep building on that initial impact.
That’s the key outstanding referrals, testimonials, and repeat work.
Here are 3 ways you can leave a long-lasting impact on your clients:
- Tailor everything to your ideal client.
- Leave a first impression worth remembering.
- Develop a friendship outside of project work.
There are many more ways to impact your clients. I’ve decided to focus on the three methods mentioned since they’ve been most effective for me.
#1 – Tailor everything to your ideal client
What if I told you that you could impact someone you’ve never met before? That if you impact them enough, they’ll do the hard work of finding and connecting with you all by themselves.
It happens all the time.
For example, this newsletter impacts people I’ve yet to meet in person or digitally. Yet, when my readers meet me in person, they usually greet me with a longer than usual handshake or hug. They often tell me that they feel like they’ve known me for a long time.
Why do they feel that way? Well, because I’ve left a strong enough imprint through the free content they’ve consumed.
My content matches my essence. In other words, what the feel when they consume my content is what they feel when they meet me in person. It’s in that familiar feeling where my imprint resides.
When I met Seth Godin for the first time, I felt the same thing. He’s done a good job of weaving his essence into his work. Anyone who’s ever met him in person will tell you the same thing.
In the positioning phase of your sales process, which is about attracting your prospects, you should tailor EVERYTHING to your ideal clients. But you have to do it in a way that sets you apart from everyone else. In other words, you have to weave your essence into every word you write, every conversation you have, and every project you work on.
A few ways you can do this:
- Create a strong enough piece of content they can’t ignore.
- If you have a website or brand, use colors, typography, and visuals that catch their eye.
- Any images of you (especially any profile pictures) should really look the way you look like in person.
- Be SUPER clear about what you do and for whom in writing and in conversations. I can’t stress this enough.
These small decisions may seem small but don’t underestimate them. Being consistent in everything builds more trust than the person who isn’t. Nowadays, everyone is bombarded with information day in and day out. And people’s bullsh*t radar has been fine-tuned because of it.
Clarity and consistency will cut through the noise and help you leave a long-lasting imprint worthy of trust, which is usually followed by a project and money.
#2 – Leave a first impression worth remembering
You’ve heard it before. You only get one chance to leave a good first impression. Your first impression will literally make or break a potential project.
If there was a formula you could follow, I’d gladly share it with you. But the reality is that leaving a good impression isn’t about mechanics. It’s about your character.
As introverts, this might be a tough pill to swallow. If you’re an introvert who has zero patience for people, won’t make the time for networking, or isn’t willing to flex a little bit of an extroverted muscle (when your business calls for it), then you have a long road ahead of you.
Here are some character traits that leave an impression worth remembering:
- You genuinely enjoy helping strangers and are kind by nature.
- You’re honestly curious about other people’s journey in life, regardless of what’s in it for you.
- You’re willing to initiate meetings via phone, Skype, or in person–especially during the sales process.
- You’re confident about the work you do.
- You’re clear about the niche you serve and are brave enough to say no to work that doesn’t fit it.
- You can articulate solutions (with solid reasoning) quickly and efficiently.
The listed character traits above aren’t something you can fake or hack.
Are you lacking any of the traits? If you are, don’t worry. You can acquire them over time with some solid introspection and better decision-making.
If you’re interested in learning some of this, you can register for a free in-depth workshop here.
#3 – Develop an actual friendship
Yup. I said it.
Befriend your client. See them as a human being. Be considerate and have empathy beyond business.
Listen, you can do just fine without developing a friendship and keeping things strictly professional with clients. But then a freelancer like me will come along and steal that next project that could’ve been yours without trying.
Think about it. Let’s say you have two potential freelancers to hire for a project:
- Freelancer #1 is someone who’s competent and professional.
- Freelancer #2 is someone who’s competent, professional, and happens to be someone you consider a friend.
Who would be your first pick? Of course, it would be your friend. Because friends look out for each other regardless of personal gain. And yes, it works both ways.
Also, there’s naturally more trust between friends than there is between professional acquaintances. This is assuming that you’re trustworthy and skillful at what you do, of course.
So, what are some ways you can begin developing a friendship?
Take note of any personal information they share with you.
If you learn to pay attention beyond business, you’ll be on your way to developing a friendship. Pay attention to personal information people naturally share such as:
- Where they live(d) or where they’re from
- Marriage, kids, or family
- Past jobs
- Hobbies and/or interests
- Pretty much anything outside of work
When they share any personal information, then either relate to it or ask a deeper question about it. For example, if someone shares the fact that they’re married, then your response can be:
“Nice! How long have you been married, if you don’t mind me asking?”
Their response: “I’ve been married for x amount of years.”
Then share what your marital status is (amount of years you’ve been married if you’re married) and how you feel about it.
For example, your reply could be: “Interesting. I’ve been married for 5 years now and it feels like I just got married yesterday!”
If you’re single, then your reply could be: “Congrats! I couldn’t imagine being married at this point in life but maybe one day.”
Whatever you say, just be honest about your feelings in regards to the topic. Even if it’s an unpopular opinion.
Your honest feelings prove and communicate that you’re human. And yes, it takes some minor vulnerability to do so. That’s why few people get personal in business. But you’d be surprised at how responsive people are to even the slightest vulnerability you share.
90% of the time (I made that number up), people will respond by contributing the same weight of your opinion of any given topic. Being generous with a genuine opinion or vulnerability will break more ice than your typical small talk ice breakers.
Also, you don’t have to have a 30-minute conversation about the topic (unless it flows into that) but the closeness of 2-3 minutes of honest feelings can achieve more than you might think. It will certainly be more than the freelancer who kept it strictly professional.
Spend time with them outside of a business context
Another simple way you can form a friendship with prospects and clients is by spending time with them outside of a business context.
Some quick examples:
- Happy hours
- Lunch or coffee
- Events of similar interests or hobbies
It’s not rocket science but what I find is that fellow introverts are hesitant to extend or accept invitations to anything outside of work.
Maybe you have doubts about clients or prospects wanting to hang out with you outside of a business setting, but that’s not true. If anything, it gives them insight about who you are (and vice versa). Whether it’s in your nature or not, you should make it a habit. Believe me, the rewards for this small effort can be incredible.
A client of mine invited me to a happy hour with his team. Admittedly, I was hesitant at first because their office was an hour away from my house. But I decided to go and stay at a hotel if I wasn’t able to drive back.
Well, to say the least, we had a blast. I learned so much about everyone both professionally and personally. We had so much fun that the team manager decided to expense my hotel for the night. Imagine that?
Our conversations were deep and he confided in me about some of the politics at the company. We shared a great experience that evening with his team. It was so memorable that I’m even writing about it now.
About a month later, the company decided to get rid of a consulting agency they’d hired years ago. Guess who inherited the next project they were lined up for? Yup, you guessed it. The guy who stepped out for a happy hour and had developed friendships with the team.
They all really liked me and I liked them. They felt a closeness to me in just under 6 weeks that an entire consulting agency hadn’t managed to achieve in 3 years worth of work.
See what I mean? BIG gains for a small effort.
Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t always work out that way but when it works, it really works in your favor.
By the way, I haven’t worked with that team in years but we occasionally check in with each other via email or text messages. When there’s been a project that’s a good fit for me, you best believe that I’m the first person they reach out to.
What kinds of experiences are you creating with your prospects and clients?
There’s no doubt that sharing meaningful and memorable experiences goes a long way in relationships of any kind. Why not be more intentional with crafting those experiences in your business?
Wouldn’t it be awesome to have that reputation?
“Working with <insert your name here> has been such a pleasure!”
More prospects will hire you. More clients will vouch for you. And most importantly, you’ll have deeper friendships and more friends in life. It’s a win-win situation all around.
If you’re up for it, share a meaningful experience below in the comments.